Parents benefit from routine too

Family life is supported in many ways when there is a good structure in place. Structures involve routines and consistency. We never have enough time for everything we would like to do, so choosing to use our time well will allow us meet our needs and those of our children.

Building new structures post separation can take time as parents settle into new ways of existing as a family, but once these structures are established each member of the family is supported to feel safe and secure in the family unit.

Good routines will allow for a calmer home and calmer parenting; when sharing parenting post separation looking after yourself well is vital so you can communicate well with the other parent and agree to establish routines that work for your children.

Make a list of areas in the daily schedule which you struggle to create a routine around. Consider if these are the more challenging times of the day. Now step back and think about what advance planning can you do to support a more consistent routine? Can children be part of making this plan?

The more you involve each member of the family the more likely the plan will work. For example, bed time is a nightmare, state this to the children. Tell them what you see happening at bed time and how you feel as a result. Ask them what they see happening and how they feel. Now ask for ideas and pin it down. Make a plan and agree to stick with it until you review it.

Try this with the other parent too. Name what you see going well and what you feel is a struggle. It might be inconsistent access arrangements. Ask them what the challenges are and see if you can both agree a new plan to support your children. For example is the time of access clashing with traffic meaning the parent is always late? Do the children really want to go out and play on the green with friends just when it is time to leave to go with the other parent? Understanding the issue can help you create a better plan.